Coen cars by Nendo let children drive through parks and enjoy fascinating games

The Japanese design studio conceives six self-driving outdoor cars for children that offer flexible and safe mobility, and new ways of play using artificial intelligence.

by Zohra Khan Published on : Apr 22, 2020

Swing. Spin. Slide. Climb. Jump. Repeat.

Nendo explores six basic motions of play to create Coen car– a concept project for children that brings for them new ways of mobility and interaction in playgrounds, parks, kindergartens and spaces alike. The project introduces six different car models in fascinating toy-like forms that use autonomous driving technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to create 'a new relationship between people and cars that is more than just a means for transportation’. Nendo describes the project as 'a car of the near future that plays with children'.

04 mins watch Coen cars - the concept | Nendo | Tokyo | STIRworld
Coen cars - the concept Video Credit: bird and insect

Coen, which means 'parks' in Japanese, is designed for Tokyo-based DeNA Co., Ltd. – a company that offers services across a range of verticals including mobile games, urban infrastructure development, community building and AI technologies in sports. Connecting the know-how of these fields is where Coen was born.

The cars are developed from six basic motions of play  | Nendo | Tokyo | STIRworld
The cars are developed from six basic motions of play Image Credit: Akihiro Yoshida

Black and white stripes and blinking eyes on the surface make the cars look like a living creatures. Each of these modules have been developed to offer a particular activity, which one can engage in by either using the object individually or by combining it with other forms.

  • Agaru lets children move through parks and help them reach other cars | Nendo | Tokyo | STIRworld
    Agaru lets children move through parks and help them reach other carsImage Credit: Akihiro Yoshida
  • Blinking eyes on the surface of Agaru appeal to children | Nendo | Tokyo | STIRworld
    Blinking eyes on the surface of Agaru appeal to childrenImage Credit: Akihiro Yoshida

The first car is called Agaru , which looks like a mini-van that children can hop on to take rounds of the park. A platform fitted within the car moves up and down to allow kids to adjust the car with their height and to act as a base to reach the other cars.

Mawaru comes with soft spikes that lets children climb its surface  | Nendo | Tokyo | STIRworld
Mawaru comes with soft spikes that let children climb its surface Image Credit: Akihiro Yoshida

Second equipment is Mawaru – a semi-circular form dotted with soft spikes that double as a challenging landscape for kids.

Yureru, another car module is conceived with a steady sideway motion emulating how one would play on monkey bars and swings. The fourth car is called Suberu , which is shaped as a slide.

Suberu is designed as a slide | Nendo | Tokyo | STIRworld
Suberu is designed as a slide Image Credit: Akihiro Yoshida

Haneru lets children jump like a trampoline. The bowl-shaped car is filled with soft balls and a surface that allow leaping motion. The last equipment is known as Yasamu that offers a moment to rest for kids to sit together and talk. The car has been designed like a train in which a series of blocks arranged in a row terminates with a planter on one of its ends.

  • Haneru designed like a soft ball pit offers leaping motions | Nendo | Tokyo | STIRworld
    Haneru designed like a soft ball pit offers leaping motions Image Credit: Akihiro Yoshida
  • Yasumu comes with interconnected blocks and a planter | Nendo | Tokyo | STIRworld
    Yasumu comes with interconnected blocks and a planter Image Credit: Akihiro Yoshida

Coen cars have been designed while keeping in mind flexibility and diverse spatial requirements. "The number of vehicles can be flexibly adjusted according to the size of the park, or to have them pull up whenever needed, such as to baseball fields before games or around the time people gather,” says design team at Nendo.

Conceptual sketch | Nendo | Tokyo | STIRworld
Conceptual sketch Image Credit: Courtesy of Nendo

Interestingly, all cars can be connected together to offer various activities including obstacle courses for children. A dedicated app would enable users to track the movement of the cars, and their arrival at nearby parks.

Nendo describes the project as 'a car of the near future that plays with children'. The designers believe that Coen cars have completely switched the old view of cars as something we should never play near, to something that plays with kids right beside them.

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